fri 22/06/2018

Theatre Features

'I am dismayed by the tone of the debate'

Heather Neill

There is nothing more depressing than seeing people you like and admire lining up on opposing sides. Emma Rice’s parting from the Globe has resulted in some unedifying comment, often based more on prejudice than fact. I see value in the arguments of both “sides” but am dismayed at the tone of the debate.

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Howard Davies: An Appreciation

Matt Wolf

Howard Davies, the theatre director who has died at the too-early age of 71, may not have achieved the renown of many of his colleagues. He didn’t direct blockbuster musicals, rarely ventured into TV and film, and didn’t possess the signature style that gets you noticed – and wins awards – early on.

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Half a century of the Roundhouse

Marcus Davey

We've got a lot to celebrate in 2016: 50 years since the Roundhouse became an arts centre and 10 years of transforming young lives through creativity. In celebration of this momentous year we embarked on a journey of discovery to uncover the stories from train-enthusiast accounts of our humble beginnings to real-life high-wire love stories, from week-long raves in the 1990s to politically-charged spoken word in the 2000s.

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First Person: 'Schizophrenia is still a taboo subject'

Vladimir Shcherban

On 10 October 2016, World Mental Health Day, the team of Belarus Free Theatre came back together to start the final stages of production for Tomorrow I Was Always a Lion, a new theatre show based on Arnhild Lauveng’s autobiographical book. Arnhild Lauveng is a Norwegian writer and practicing psychologist. In the book she tells the story of her own recovery from the incurable condition of schizophrenia.

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First Person: 'Leaving the house can feel like walking into battle'

Veronika Szabo

On a sunny afternoon in April four young women pile themselves into a toilet at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. They lock the door. They have come here to make some intimate recordings. Awkward giggles develop into discussion and discussion turns into confession. They are talking about their bodies. Something is always too small or big, or not the right shape.

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Who's afraid of Edward Albee?

Jasper Rees

"I've always thought there's nothing worse than coming to the end of your life and realising that you haven't participated in it, and so I write about people who've done that to a certain extent." Edward Albee has died at the age of 88, having participated in his life far more actively than George and Martha, the couple in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? whose idea of hell is each other.

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theartsdesk in Venice: Shylock comes home

Heather Neill

"In such a night as this..." begins Lorenzo's beautiful speech in Act V of The Merchant of Venice. Watching Shakespeare's play in the Campo del Ghetto Nuovo on a balmy evening under a darkening navy blue sky, with cicadas providing a busy background recitative, it might have been tempting to be lulled by the romance of the surroundings. Belmont itself could scarcely be more delightful than Venice on a moonlit summer night.

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What are the arts doing here?

John Martin

The raising of a temporary structure theatre in the middle of the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais (pictured below) has brought the issue of arts in situations of crisis into sharp focus. This big brave act by two young Brits, opening a creative space to some of the most miserable and traumatised people in Europe, in some of the most squalid conditions and in sight of the English coast, has hit a nerve which we cannot ignore.

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Brian Friel, the private playwright of Ballybeg

Jasper Rees

Brian Friel, who died in the autumn of 2015 at the age of 86, was a shy man who shunned interviews, keeping his powder dry for the work and shrouding his personal life in mystique. Not that he never opened his mouth at all. When Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) was winning Tony Awards in New York, he got into trouble for saying that a good stage manager is preferable to a director who disobeys the script.

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Opinion: Post-Brexit, we need theatre more than ever

Marianka Swain

In seeking to understand the historic, divisive and to some bewildering Brexit vote, I will turn to theatre. Through my regular exposure to it, I can number among my ever-widening acquaintance a young king, a whistleblower, a minimum-wage movie usher, a recovering alcoholic, a passionate teacher, a grieving parent, a struggling miner, an evangelical preacher, an underpaid social worker, a dementia sufferer, and a pair of star-crossed lovers.

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